WEB-TO-PRINT — THE NEW FACE OF THE WEB
Royal Impressions, a $10 million digital printer and marketing services provider based in Manhattan, is one of the marketing leaders in Web-to-print, having developed a custom solution called the Marketing Collateral Ordering System (MCOM) eight years ago. Royal Impressions has a stable of high-profile clients using the system, including Sun-America, OppenheimerFunds and Prudential Financial.
In addition to offering the applications described elsewhere in this article, Royal has also developed some very sophisticated one-off Web-to-print applications. For example, OppenheimerFunds used to create high-end client proposals using a manual process. Now, financial advisors access the Oppenheimer Website to input the recipient’s financial information, interests and goals related to the proposal. Then, the MCOM moves them onto a special Website developed by Royal’s partner in the project, Thompson Financial, where they input the specifics for the detailed financial projections.
Based on complex mathematical formulas, the Thompson system generates the hypothetical and saves it as a PDF. In the final step, the hypothetical is returned to Royal’s MCOM system, where the PDF is integrated with a variable-length proposal document. A process that once took days has now been reduced to hours.
One of the hard-learned lessons from this technology leader is that the market is becoming increasingly crowded. And, with the number of packaged solutions available, what used to be an application that locked a customer into a long-term relationship isn’t so sure anymore. Royal Impressions is currently facing the expiration of a four-year contract and, while the customer has been pleased with the results, the shop is now being asked to put out bids like other vendors.
“It was a sophisticated custom build,” notes Christopher DeSantis, president of Royal Impressions. “But with everyone saying they can offer Web-to-print now, it puts us in a position of having to re-prove our value at the end of the contract. It’s not an automatic renewal.”